The sold Dream 12
The sea was unkind to us and the storms we encountered were those magnificent destructive ones you see in the movies . The journey into Thailand requires both mental and physical health. Mahi had been sea sick for most of the trip and I feared dehydration as food and water was scarce. The irony of being surrounded by water yet having none to drink was to lost on me. Yes , I’m complaining and don’t you judge me until you’ve tried to stomach a glass of salty sea water.
The night before the dark clouds were looming and we all knew that a storm was brewing. The boat shook violently from side to side making even the strongest of us nauseous. The lightening was deafening and with each strike that passed we held our breath and prayed the boat hadn’t been hit. The thunder terrified Mahi, but then again which child is not afraid of thunder?
I sat next to a lady who held on tightly to her toddler. As the storm began the boat became more and more unstable, this was not a cruise liner it was just a rickety smuggler boat. She held onto her child with every ounce of strength she possessed. She prayed and prayed. Then the strangest thing happened. The woman looked straight into my eyes and said that no one can escape death and that death was inevitable. I was suddenly very afraid. She told Mahi and I to grab onto the railings as the water came gushing in an out the boat. When I turned back, the woman and her child had been washed overboard, her father screamed in pain as the finality of what had just happened rushed at him. He walked to the railings and peered slowly overboard in the middle of all the chaos. He knew she had not made it.
When the sea eventually calmed down family and friends began looking for each other hoping their loved ones would still be on board. People who had met as the were packed next to one another upon arrival looked for their new friends. Some had washed away and the chances of survival on the open seas were close to none. We suffer the casualties of seeking freedom.
The boat trip is not one for the weak or faint hearted. If you think that the storm was bad, try the lack of food and water. When people are desperate for food and water they become savages over little crumbs. The lack of water took its toll on many. Some began hallucinating and walked right off the ship proclaiming their lost family members had arrived to fetch them. Some of the old peoples whose children had paid for their trip to safety did not make it. The sun was scorching and we had no choice at times but to drink sea water. The boat trip has killed thousands of Rohingya and I pray that no one else in the world has to endure it because it is the ultimate test of your emotional, mental and physical strength.
The torching of our village, the killing of my sister did not test me as much as this trip did. The only way I stayed sane was through prayer. I asked God daily to get me to the other side where I could have a better life. Every time I came close to giving up I would remember that if I did, then little Mahi would be all alone. So I survived, I survived for the hope of freedom and a chance at the right to an education. I stayed alive because at this point death was not an option.
When you lose all hope you have no idea where the will power comes from but somehow you find it even in the darkest places . Here in the darkest most painful place on earth I found out how strong I was.
by mumtaz saley